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New Rules Could Bar Interpreters From Getting U.S. Visas
Washington Free Beacon (DC) (02/16/16) Goodman, Alana
Afghan interpreters who worked for the U.S. military could find themselves ineligible for U.S. visas due to a decision by the U.S. State Department to change the requirements for applicants. In September 2015, Congress voted to increase the minimum employment requirement for interpreters from one year of U.S. government service to two years. Advocates say the State Department has been applying this change retroactively to interpreters who submitted applications months or years before the rule was passed—a decision that could impact as many as 3,300 Afghan interpreters who are under threat from the Taliban. One Afghan interpreter, who wished to be identified only as "Dave," applied for a visa on November 7, 2014. Last month, he received a rejection letter from the U.S. embassy in Kabul citing "insufficient length of employment" and stating that he did not meet the two-year requirement. The rejection was based on information from Mission Essential Personnel (MEP), the U.S. contractor for which Dave worked. According to MEP, Dave was employed as an interpreter for just 20 months. But Dave says he worked with the U.S. military from 2003 until 2009, and again from 2010 to 2011. He also provided multiple letters of recommendation and certificates from U.S. military officials that appeared to verify his claims. May Whitaker, a California-based attorney who has been working on Dave's case, says she's found it difficult to get responses from the contracting company. Whitaker also says she's concerned about Dave's safety. "Dave would e-mail me regularly pleading for an update on his visa application, afraid for the safety of his two young children," she explains. "A legal game of semantics is going on that will potentially end up killing 3,300 veterans who have been left behind in Afghanistan," says Matt Zeller, a former U.S. Army officer who runs the interpreter advocacy group No One Left Behind. "These guys met the requirements for visas when they first applied, and the only reason they're not here is because the U.S. government can't get their act together and approve these visas on time."
EU Selects Winners of Young Translator Contest
Slator (Switzerland) (02/11/16) Marking, Marion
The European Commission announced the 28 winners of the annual Juvenes Translatores (Young Translators) contest, selected from more than 3,000 contestants. Established in 2007, the goal of the contest is to inspire young people to pursue languages and to give them a sense of what it takes to be a translator. Entrants were permitted to choose any of 552 possible language combinations between any two of the European Union's 24 official languages, but they had no part in selecting the one-page text they were given to translate. This year, participants provided entries in 166 language combinations, including Czech into Italian, Maltese into Dutch, and Danish into Polish. Three of the winners come from Italy, Germany, and France. Seventeen-year-old Gabriella Grassiccia, from Modica, Sicily, beat 355 other students from 72 schools. She is currently studying English, Spanish, French, and Italian. "The most important thing is knowledge of the language … being careful with every word you translate without being superficial," Grassiccia says. Florian Pesce, 17, from Lycée Notre-Dame-Saint-Joseph in Epinal, France, beat 348 students from 92 schools. Pesce reports his family's bilingualism contributed to his performance, noting it "also helped me to learn two other languages, English and German." Emily Bruns, also 17, from Norderstedt, Germany, says she was eager to participate because, "at school, we usually don't translate ... it was therefore a new experience." Bruns, who won for her French-to-German entry, beat out 333 entries from 72 schools. She has studied English for eight years, French for seven, and Spanish for three. Bruns says she found it challenging, since "I tried not to stick to the literal translation and thought about what a native speaker would say instead." Although they are still not quite ready to decide if they would like to pursue careers as professional translators, Grassiccia, Pesce, and Bruns realize that multilingualism will help them in whatever career path they chose to follow. All winners will travel to Brussels in April to receive their trophies from Kristalina Georgieva, vice-president of the European Commission.
Geneva to Translate Information Into Five Languages
The Local (Switzerland) (02/10/16)
In a move officials say will help new residents adjust, the city of Geneva, Switzerland, is translating multiple administrative documents and information flyers into English and four other languages. The documents to be translated include information for new residents concerning daycare services, neighborhood centers, public works, libraries, and cultural and sporting events. A statement on the city's website explains the decision, highlighting the fact that each year more than 20,000 new residents move to Geneva, many of whom do not speak French. "Multilingualism constitutes a reality in a city like Geneva," the statement reads. "Language should not be a barrier to obtaining public services." After meeting with targeted groups of foreigners in the city, officials from the Department of Social Cohesion and Solidarity decided to translate key documents into the five languages most commonly spoken in Geneva after French. Apart from English, the languages are Portuguese, Spanish, Albanian, and Arabic. Lack of official information in English has long been a challenge for Anglophones in Geneva, which is home to the UN's European headquarters and more than 40 international organizations, many of whom use English as a primary language. Members of the city council, headed by Mayor Esther Alder, say it's essential that Geneva assume its status as an international city and address itself to the city's numerous foreign communities. "International civil servants, expats, and migrants today need to understand without delay the major formalities linked to their arrival," Alder says. "Experience shows that translations of basic documents facilitate integration and positively influence people who are subsequently able to better exercise their rights and their obligations toward the community."
The Growing Importance of Language in UDRP Proceedings
CircleID (Canada) (02/15/16) Isenberg, Doug
An increasing number of domain name disputes are being conducted in languages other than English, which presents a new challenge for some trademark owners. The choice of language can have a huge impact on how (or even whether) a trademark owner chooses to fight a cyber squatter. In 2015, around 85% of all domain name disputes at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) were conducted in English. The rules for the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) stipulate the language for a dispute proceeding: "the language of the administrative proceeding shall be the language of the Registration Agreement, subject to the authority of the Panel to determine otherwise, having regard to the circumstances of the administrative proceeding." The largest retail domain name registrars, including GoDaddy, Network Solutions, and eNom, have English-language registration agreements. This means that even if the domain name registrant is from a country where English is not an official language, the UDRP proceeding will likely be conducted in English. But many cyber squatters register their domain names with registrars that have registration agreements in other languages. Fortunately, for English-speaking trademark owners, UDRP precedent allows proceedings to be conducted in English under certain circumstances even if the registration agreement is in another language. In deciding the appropriate language, UDRP panelists often consider such factors as whether the disputed domain name or associated website includes English words, whether the registrant appears to be able to communicate in English, and the impact on the complainant. Still, it may be unclear when a UDRP complaint is filed what language(s) ultimately will be accepted for the proceeding, and trademark owners must be prepared to accept this situation. Even if an English complaint is allowed, the UDRP service provider may accept a response in another language. As a result, a complainant may incur additional expense and challenges in such a situation. Whether the increase in non-English UDRP proceedings is a result of chance or purposeful is unclear. Regardless, it's apparent that language is an increasingly important issue in UDRP proceedings.
Russian Prime Minister's German Translation Questioned
Radio Free Europe (Czech Republic) (02/12/16) Schreck, Carl
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev made global headlines for an interview that appeared in the German newspaper Handelsblatt, in which he was quoted as warning that the Syria conflict could lead to a "new world war." However, the question of whether Medvedev actually used this phrasing is at the center of a controversy that drew critical remarks from the U.S. State Department ahead of the annual Munich Security Conference. In the interview, Medvedev was asked his opinion regarding the prospect of Arab countries sending troops to Syria, where President Bashar al-Assad, Moscow's ally, is battling both the extremist Islamic State group and more moderate opposition groups. Handelsblatt's German translation quoted Medvedev as saying that such a move could spark "einen neuen Weltkrieg," or "a new world war." But the accuracy of the Handelsblatt translation was called into question on social media after Medvedev's office released a Russian-language transcript of the interview that quoted him uttering less harsh words. Medvedev, who spoke Russian during the interview, was quoted as saying that world powers must force all sides to sit down at the negotiating table and "not start yet another war on Earth." The translation tempest ultimately prompted Handelsblatt to issue a clarification and defend its use of the phrase "world war." In a note on the English-language version of the newspaper's website, Kevin O’Brien, editor-in-chief of Handelsblatt Global Edition, wrote that "the Kremlin approved a German-language version of the interview." The German quote approved by the Kremlin contained the term "einen neuen Weltkrieg," or a "new world war." Fueling the debate is the fact that the Russian government has previously been accused by various media outlets of massaging or omitting contentious comments by foreign and domestic officials in official records of public statements. For example, at a May 2015 news conference in Moscow, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, speaking in German, called Moscow's annexation of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula the previous year "verbrecherisch," or "criminal." However, the official Russian-language interpreter at the press conference omitted the word "criminal" during the event, and the official Kremlin transcript left out the word as well. Whether Medvedev's office took similar liberties in transcribing his interview with Handelsblatt is not yet clear.
ATA Compensation Survey: Executive Summary
In 2015, ATA invited translators, interpreters, and T&I company owners around the world to participate in a compensation survey. More than 1,500 of them responded.
This industry-wide survey provides a comprehensive picture of the market for T&I services. The results are invaluable in managing your business and planning for the future.
Start with the Executive Summary for the big picture of the T&I services market. This summary is available to both ATA members and non-members
For details, read the ATA Translation and Interpreting Services Survey Report. (Available to ATA members only.)
ATA's 57th Annual Conference: Be a Part of It!
The American Translators Association is now accepting presentation proposals for ATA's 57th Annual Conference in San Francisco, California (November 2-5, 2016).
Proposals must be received by March 4, 2016.
Speaking at an ATA Annual Conference is not only a challenge, but an opportunity as well. There's no better way to gain visibility and recognition as a "go-to" expert in your field.
How to Submit a Presentation Proposal for 2016
Proposals are invited from all areas of translation and interpreting, including finance, law, medicine, literature, science and technology, education and training, terminology, independent contracting, and business management. Sessions may be language specific.
The ATA Mentoring Program
Need to move your business forward? Have questions about technology, management, or clients? The ATA Mentoring Program may be just what you need.
Learn more about the program with this free 60-minute webinar. Look for additional details in the webinar's question-and-answer handout.
Applications from interested mentees and mentors will be accepted through March 5. Don't wait! This will be your only opportunity to enroll in 2016.
2016 ATA Elections: Last call for nominations
The 2016 Nominating and Leadership Development Committee is pleased to announce the call for nominations from ATA’s membership to fill three directors’ positions (each a three-year term). Elections will be held at the Annual Meeting of Voting Members on Thursday, November 3, 2016, in San Francisco, California.
What does it take to be an ATA Board Director?
Great question! Whether or not you are submitting a nomination, this is a good time to learn more about the duties and obligations involved in being on the Board.
The deadline for submitting nominations is March 1, 2016.
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